The total cryptocurrency market cap weathered a mid-week slump to end the week on solid footing. The majority of cryptocurrencies posted 7-day declines, but strong showings toward the top of the charts — particularly from the ripple price and ethereum price — enabled the crypto market cap to tick up into positive territory.
The cryptocurrency market cap ended last week just below $147 billion. After an early-week rally, it fell into decline Tuesday evening, eventually reaching as low as $141 billion on Thursday. However, the markets turned a corner leading into the weekend and have now recovered to $147.6 billion.
Bitcoin Price a Stabilizing Force
The bitcoin price provided the markets with a stabilizing force. Despite falling prey to the mid-week downtrend, the bitcoin price ended the week at $4,335, which represented a week-over-week gain of about one-half of one percent. This keeps the bitcoin market cap just above the $72 billion level.
As CCN has reported, official Chinese sources have hinted that the country could introduce a licensure process for bitcoin exchanges sometime in the mid-term future. While the regulations would likely be highly-restrictive, they would help restore liquidity to the Chinese markets by moving volume away from the over-the-counter markets and back to order-book exchanges. This would likely help propel the bitcoin price toward the $5,000 near-term target many analysts have predicted.
Ethereum Price Presses Toward $310
The ethereum price rose 3% for the week. Though this gain appears minor, it was third-best among top 10 cryptocurrencies and enabled ethereum’s market cap to grow by about $800 million to $28.4 billion. Ethereum is now trading at $309, a price that is fairly consistent across all major exchanges.
Ethereum is now just days away from the Byzantium hard fork, the first phase of the Metropolis protocol upgrade that is intended to help the network cope with scalability concerns. Ahead of this roll-out, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin revealed that he does not intend to hold an initial coin offering (ICO) for Plasma, another scaling solution he is developing in coordination with Lightning Network co-author Joseph Poon.
Ripple Price Rallies 18%
The ripple price rose a remarkable 18% this week, raising its market cap above $9 billion. At present, the ripple price is trading at $0.234, up from $0.198 at this time last week.
Ripple — the FinTech startup, that is — has spent the last several months laying the groundwork for a targeted penetration of the Asian markets, so many investors are bullish on the XRP currency’s long-term prospects. However, the impetus for this present price swing seems to be traders pricing in an expected announcement from Ripple at its upcoming “Swell” conference, which will take place in mid-October. This phenomenon is not unprecedented; the ripple price surged ahead of the announcement of the conference but fell into decline once the details had been released.
Bitcoin Cash Leads Altcoin Retreat
Although ripple was an outlier, the majority of altcoins ended the week in decline. In fact, only four of the top 20 cryptocurrencies posted positive movement over the past 7 days.
The bitcoin cash price led the retreat, falling 18% to $359 — a 7-day decline of $81. Bitcoin cash’s market cap is now just under $6 billion.
Litecoin and dash also moved into negative territory, although each managed to hold above the significant thresholds of $50 and $300, respectively. Seventh-ranked NEM joined bitcoin cash in its double-digit decline, falling 10% for the week to $0.213.
NEO was another outlier. NEO returned a weekly gain of 5%, raising its price to $33 and enabling it to close market cap gap between it and NEM. IOTA, meanwhile, fared even worse than bitcoin cash. The IOTA price plummeted by 19%, reducing its market cap to about $1.4 billion. Monero and ethereum classic both experienced moderate declines, while 12th-ranked bitconnect rose 4% to place its market cap just $25 million below the $1 billion mark.
Ripple Adds to Market Share
This week’s market movements enabled the top three coins to add to their respective shares of the total cryptocurrency market cap.
Bitcoin ended the week with a minor increase to its dominant share, which now sits at 48.8% after flirting with 50% earlier in the week. Ethereum added about one-half of one percent to its share, which rose to 19.9%. Ripple, meanwhile, now controls a 6.1% slice of the market, representing an increase of a full percentage point since last Saturday.